25 April 2013, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

1. We,  the   Leaders   of   Brunei   Darussalam,   Indonesia,   Malaysia   and   the Philippines, met for the 9th  BIMP-EAGA Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, on 25 April 2013, to review the progress of cooperation and to provide further direction in the pursuit of our shared vision of establishing BIMP-EAGA as a regional food basket and ecotourism destination through enhanced connectivity for trade and investment, whilst ensuring sustainable management of the environment. We reiterated the importance of sub-regional economic cooperation of BIMP-EAGA as a strategy in supporting the realisation of the ASEAN Community.

2. Trade  will  continue  to  be  one  of  the  main  cornerstones  of  BIMP-EAGA cooperation. As such, we are pleased to note that total trade value of BIMP-EAGA grew significantly by 70% from USD 100 billion in 2009 to USD 170 billion in 2011. Intra-EAGA trade represented nearly 25% of the total EAGA trade over the same period. We are also pleased to note the positive trend in foreign direct investment in BIMP-EAGA Member Countries have grown significantly by 129% from USD 24 billion in 2009 to USD 55 billion in 2011.

3. We are pleased with the progress in implementing the Priority Infrastructure Projects, since our endorsement of the Implementation Blueprint (IB) 2012 – 2016 at the 8th BIMP-EAGA Summit in 2012. We took note that the 2013-2014 rolling pipeline projects that have been identified will further contribute to the attainment of the BIMP- EAGA vision.  We look forward to the finalisation of the “Result-Based Monitoring and Evaluation Framework” to provide indicators and assessment of the substantive outcomes and impacts of these projects to our community. We reiterated on the need for effective and timely implementation of the IB and therefore, we tasked our Sectoral Ministers to jointly coordinate and implement these BIMP-EAGA priority projects.

4. We recognised the need to synergise through greater coordination, among the four pillars of BIMP-EAGA, i.e. connectivity, food basket, tourism and environment, to further improve economic development and also narrow the development gap within the BIMP-EAGA Member Countries.   We are pleased that, under the connectivity pillar, transport initiatives continue to be sustained. Amongst others, we welcomed the commencement of Malaysia’s MASwings flights on 1 February 2013 between Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Balikpapan, Indonesia as well as flights between Kuching, Malaysia and Balikpapan, Indonesia. We also welcomed the additional designation of Tawau and Mulu in Malaysia; Makassar in Indonesia; and Cagayan De Oro in Philippines as BIMP-EAGA points for fifth freedom traffic rights.

5. We welcomed the initiatives to improve the ICT literacy in the rural community through the ICT Rural Outreach Program (iROP). We commended the ICT sector for the successful launching of Phase I of the BIMP-EAGA Rink project as a stepping stone to develop the BIMP-EAGA region as a communications hub. We are pleased to note the convening of the inaugural Informal BIMP-EAGA Telecommunications and ICT Ministers Meeting on 14 November 2012 in Cebu, Philippines which provided further direction in moving the ICT agenda forward.

6. We recognised the performance of the tourism sector in the last three years which has demonstrated strong potential for growth. The combined foreign and domestic arrivals in BIMP-EAGA registered a 31% increase, from 13 million in 2009 to 17 million in 2011. We, therefore, appreciated the continuous efforts of the tourism sector to promote the Equator Asia tourism brand and thus, we welcomed the arrangement of various BIMP-EAGA signature tourism events. We also welcomed their efforts in pursuing various infrastructure development and promotion activities, as well as capacity building program at the Community-Based Ecotourism Pilot Sites, and hosting a BIMP-EAGA familiarisation tour for media and travel writers from China.

7. In strengthening food security in the sub-region, we commended the successful conduct of the 1st BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Consumer Fair and the BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Business Transformation Leaders Conference: Promoting High-Value Agriculture  through  Public-Private  Partnerships  held  in  Melaka,  Malaysia  on  30 November – 2 December 2012 and the positive outcomes of the conference in forging new private sector joint venture initiatives namely, on Biotech Organic Fertilisers and Swiftlet Eco-Park. We look forward to the conduct of the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Consumer Fair to be hosted in the Philippines in 2014. We also commended the private sector joint venture initiatives in the Hybrid Rice Seed production.

8. We tasked our Sectoral Ministers to look into ways of ensuring sustainable use of natural resources in the sub-region, in an effort to conserve the environment for future generations.   In this regard, we encouraged active engagement with global environment players to support our work in ensuring the preservation of two of the richest biodiversity areas in the world, namely the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle (Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Eco-region).

9. We recognised the ever-increasing initiatives that are currently being pursued under the BIMP-EAGA cooperation and on the need to effectively coordinate and monitor them through a fully-functioning central secretariat. We look forward to the finalisation of the institutional arrangements for the establishment of the BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Centre (BIMP-FC) by the next Ministerial Meeting.

10. We  called  on  the  BIMP-EAGA  Business  Council  (BEBC)  to  continue  to advocate greater ease of doing business and facilitation of cross-border trade and investment in the sub-region. We urged the private sector, our Senior Officials, local governments and officials from the various sectors to strengthen public-private partnerships and reinforce collective efforts at exploring innovative modalities for partnerships,  particularly  in  the  area  of  enhancing  connectivity,  establishing  food basket and promoting tourism in BIMP-EAGA.

11. We thanked our Regional Development Advisor, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for their continued assistance in the operationalisation of the Implementation Blueprint (IB) 2012-2016 and in the provision of technical assistance projects in supporting the development of connectivity infrastructure and trade facilitation. We urged ADB to continue its support and also consider providing their assistance in delivering projects.

12. We appreciated the ASEAN Secretariat’s increasing engagement with BIMP- EAGA and therefore, we welcomed the conduct of the ASEAN Secretariat – BIMP EAGA Consultation on 4 March 2013 in its efforts to align the BIMP-EAGA development  with  the  ASEAN  Community  agenda.  We  urged  them  to  pursue identified follow through activities to strengthen ASEAN – BIMP-EAGA collaboration. We support the higher profiling of BIMP-EAGA with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners and External Parties.

13. We are pleased with BIMP-EAGA’s engagement with China and Japan. We look forward to greater cooperation by all stakeholders to establish actual joint venture undertakings with China and with Japan. We tasked our Senior Officials to identify new Development Partners.

14. We expressed our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Brunei Darussalam for the warm hospitality and the excellent meeting arrangements.